Swissinfo journalist Billi Bierling has spoken out for the first time about her amazing Olympic sweepstake triumph.This content was published on February 25, 2002 - 06:08
Speaking exclusively to her employers, Bierling said she was "flabbergasted" to have won the gold medal in one of the most exclusive competitions in global sport.
The talented German predicted that Switzerland's athletes would take home ten medals from the Salt Lake City Games, just one medal short of the final Swiss tally.
"I'm lost for words," said Bierling in total contradiction of herself. "It's the honour of winning of course more than the money. I'm surprised because there are other people here who know a lot about sport and I'm someone who certainly doesn't."
Bierling, who is now SFr 70 better off after her lucrative gamble, then launched into a scathing attack on her pessimistic co-workers.
"I won because I had faith in the Swiss team," she insisted, "It was just a gut feeling, and obviously my colleagues didn't have that faith which is a bit sad."
The new Olympic number one hinted that she would be taking those same colleagues out for a drink with her cash windfall, although she was not aware at the time that her conversation was being recorded.
Silver for Zarifeh
In an extremely tight finish to the two-week competition, England's Ramsey Zarifeh sneaked into second place after only losing out on a tie-break to Bierling.
Devra Pitt took the sweepstake bronze, ensuring a rare podium place for New Zealand.
Among the competition's surprise losers was swissinfo sports editor Mark Ledsom, who came in fourth but insisted he was happy to take the "leather medal".
"It wouldn't have been fair for me to win, really, so I'm very happy how things turned out," he lied through his teeth.
There was even worse news for supposed 'sport boys' Adam Beaumont and Roy Probert. The Geneva-based Probert could only manage seventh place in the ten-strong field after predicting the Swiss would bring just seven medals home.
Beaumont, who can no longer excuse himself as being particularly new, limped in in eighth spot with a risible forecast of six medals.
No-one could be found to comment on the shocking last place position of one Christof Heri who showed the level of his commitment to the Swiss cause with the lowest prediction of all.
"They'll get three," Heri stated confidently before the Games began.
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